Musical ambassadors visit Europe

During the month of July, nine talented Marlton musicians joined nearly one hundred musicians from high schools all over the northeast on a musical tour of six countries in central Europe. American honors music students have been serving as musical ambassadors to Europe for over 35 years with the American Music Abroad program.

Their high school band and choral directors from over 70 different high schools from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio nominated the students. Approximately 65 band members and 50 choral students performed a total of nine concerts in five countries over a three-week European tour, including the “Farewell Concert” for their parents and family members at Millersville University.

The tour took them to Paris and Strasbourg, France; Lake Lucerne and Engelberg, Switzerland; Venice and Motogrotto Terme, Italy; Salzburg, Westendorf, Mayrhofen, and Rattenberg, Austria; Dinkelsbuhl, the Dachau concentration camp, Munich, Garmisch and Oberamergau, Germany; and concluded in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The students are not only gaining the musical, travel and social experiences of the tour but also helping to promote and share an American message of peace, unity, tolerance and brotherhood through our music and through our youth,” said Keith Hodgson, director of instrumental music at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood.

Leanne Friedman, junior at Cherokee High School stated, “ It is amazing that my love of music has led me to this opportunity. Prior to the trip, I never believed I would have been able to combine the joys of traveling with performing throughout Europe”

“The students return with a heightened sense of perspective about their world. Perspective is the most remarkable impact I think one can have on this trip. Cultural and historical perspectives as well as personal, musical, and social perspectives. For me, experiencing the dark depths of Dachau and the exhilarating high of being 10,000 feet in the Alps on back to back days, gives me an emotional perspective that I never get tired of experiencing,” said Hodgson.

Jimmy Boyle, a recent Cherokee graduate and current student at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia commented, “Although we were in European countries, the AMA trip made me even more proud to be an American citizen.”

The American Music Abroad “Opportunity of a Lifetime” Gold Tour continues their adventure in 2013, returning to some of our favorite stops, and new in 2013: Prague in the Czech Republic.

Please contact Keith Hodgson with questions and further information by email at keithhodgson1@me.com.